Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hide and seek

If everyone could, they'd want to work and live in Cayman. And why not? A year round hot climate, pristine beaches, and not to mention a strong currency (which is worth more than the USD) coupled with a tax free jurisdiction. Literally tax free, unlike Bermuda, which does have a payroll tax (of 14%) in place. So, yes anyone would live & work here, if they could. Every so often you will hear about visitors defuncting on their visit visas to go in hiding only to become illegal. So, I say stop and wait just a minute. It's Cayman with a population of 60,000, so where are you really going to hide? This island is only so big before you will get caught and caught you do. Immigration here is on top of illegals and are quite successful in catching and rounding them up, no matter how long it takes. Most times defunctees are from Cuba, some from Guatemala or Nicaragua. Of course, the public does assist in spotting them out, so yet again I ask, where are you going to hide? Well, where can you hide, when most of the island is on the look out for you, like you've got thousands of bounty hunters on your back, but you just don't know it. Yet!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mangalore morning

What I loved about Bermuda and what I love about living in Cayman is how it often reminds me of places in India that I've visited. This morning was destined to be a Mangalore morning where the crisp cool air coupled with lingering scents of woodfire just about took me back to a place I've visited often in southern India, my parents hometown, Mangalore (as seen here). That's the best part about living on a tropical island, the scents are so very similar, it takes you right back. Looks like it's going to be like this all day and it is so very welcomed. Deep breaths are part of today's agenda.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Encountering butterflies

Sure squirrels are adorable, but what are they really? One way of looking at it is that it's just an oversized rat, that just happened to have a bushy tail which changed its appearance for the better. Of course, there are no squirrels in Cayman, but I haven't entirely forgotten about them since they were frequent visitors in my backyard in Toronto for the eight years that I lived there.

Here in Cayman, the same analogy can be applied to butterflies. There really are so many of them around, and perhaps that's due to the butterfly farm (which I have yet to visit) that encourages the growth and survival of these beautiful creatures. But what are butterflies really? Take off their beautiful wings and they're just oversized bugs, that ordinarily are not very appeasing to the eye whatsoever. And its former form is certainly not pretty. People tend to let caterpillars be all because they know that it will eventually turn into a beautiful butterfly. And here in Cayman one can find so many of these butterflies fluttering around their car while they're driving and even while being stationary. At times it can be a distraction because if you're like me, you just want to take note of which kind managed to make it past your windshield at that particular moment - check out their colours, that sort of thing. Heck they whiz past you while you're on the bypass, but of course you're going too fast to be able to notice what kind it is. But even so, just the thought of it is pretty nice and that's one of the reasons why I love driving in Cayman, if only to encounter butterflies on my drive around town.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Little angels

After about a year's stay in Bermuda, I had the unfortunate task of looking for a Sympathy card to be sent to someone back home. As I set out looking for one, I was a little taken aback to see what I found in the Sympathy section of the card rack. There were so many religious cards catering to the event of the loss of a child, not a son or daughter in their teenage years, but a child (which also extended to babies). Which made me think, were women here losing their young children at a rate far faster than what would be ordinarily deemed normal in other countries? Why? And how were they losing these children? Was it due to an illness, tragic unforeseen circumstances or victims of crime that really should have no place in today's modern world. It was definitely hard to say and and I tried to think back to any events in the year that I was there, where young children had lost their lives, I couldn't come up with very much. Sure Bermuda has a high rate of premature babies, but that couldn't be the only reason. Unfortunately, the presence of these greeting cards was all too evident that there does exist this demand for this particular type of commodity. You couldn't help but feel melancholy looking at the rack.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sitting pretty

I was away off island last week. It was one of those things where we had island fever and arranged a last minute trip, a cruise from Miami down to Key West & Cozumel. This was our first cruise experience and so we didn't really know what to expect. Needless to say we had a fabulous time, everything went smoothly (no delays or lost baggage). I even managed to squeeze in some much needed shopping in Miami, but really when is shopping ever not needed?!

En route to Miami, this time around, I also managed
to capture some awesome shots of parts of Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. You know I'm going to every time I get on that plane. We often forget how beautiful the island that we're living in can be and aerial shots just about reinforce that. Look at the green and blue hues. Go on, just give in. Resistance is futile.

Here you're looking at part of the airport strip and part of Georgetown, the capital. As you can see FOUR cruise ships have parked themselves by the dock. Funnily, we did actually our very own cruise ship docked here in Grand Cayman last week, mere days before our cruise. How neat would it have been if we could have just boarded that very same ship and hitched a ride back to Miami, but apparently things don't work that way.

Moving on, this one is of the famous and very popular Seven Mile Beach area. You're also looking at the stretch that leads to West Bay, which is posted here on the right.

And finally, I think these shots of the Southern tip of Cuba came out better than I anticipated. I really did want to include all the ones I had, such was the difficulty in narrowing them down as they each looked beautiful to me. So here they are...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


This one is ensuring there are no tan lines whatsoever as it sunbathes under the hot intense Cayman Sun. I love how it's propped itself up on the parking divider to ensure it's underbelly gets some sun too and of course could not resist taking a snapshot. This just goes to show that even iguanas do silly things at times. It also goes to show that they actually not that ugly when standing upright. Quite cute, actually.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


At certain times certain rules for guest workers are brought into places like the Cayman Islands or Bermuda that make absolutely no sense to me. In recent news, a new law has been proposed requiring the fingerprinting of all expat workers. If approved, the fingerprinting procedure will be implemented for potential and current guest workers. The news went on to state that an applicant has the right to refuse being fingerprinted, which would then give Immigration the right to refuse that applicant his/her work permit. So basically an expat would HAVE to submit to their prints being taken. Resistance is futile!

The whole rationalisation behind the fingerprinting agenda is to get a handle on and to better manage and/or solve crime. Excuse me but, what crime and by whom? If that were the case, shouldn't EVERYONE be fingerprinted? Why just the expats? And isn't it factual and common knowledge that the crime that does exist in Cayman at most times, especially in recent times, does not involve expats. So, where is the justification for this procedure coming from?

Many believe the rationalisation behind the whole fingerprinting procedure is to keep in check a specific expat nationality. I won't say which at this point but it's common knowledge as to which one it is. It just won't do for Cayman to just come right out and say we are going to have just these expat workers from country X fingerprinted, would it? What kind of message would it be sending as an offshore jurisdiction, one that tops the world's list for the most number funds domiciled. But that's just a theory that's out there.

I have to wonder though, would the top bosses, the high profile executives be open to having themselves fingerprinted? Or would exceptions be made for them? And would that then translate to nationality, where if one were from Canada or America, they'd be excused? It will be very interesting to see how this develops because no one is comfortable with this new law/proposal. Click here to see the latest online poll taken by the Caymanian Compass on this matter.

Ok, so here's my thing: Canada doesn't even have my fingerprints for crying out loud, nor does India, Dubai or Bermuda. So, I'm not particularly in the sharing mood when it comes to my fingerprints. That and I don't trust any government with that kind of information. You know what, I'm NOT ok with it. The only time I have ever been fingerprinted was when I was six months old and that went in my baby book. Maybe I should just submit that with my next work permit application. Ridiculousness! Just a ridiculous as the proposal of the 'No cars for expats' in Bermuda.

So what do you think? Is this acceptable in any form in any country? All you Dubai & Bermuda expats, would you be ok with this if they were to implement this in your adopted country?

Monday, October 13, 2008


A funny and true Bermudian story:

Ms. X, as we shall call her, is not necessarily a nice person. Her people skills at work (and I'm not saying at who's workplace), is dismal. She is not very popular at all. In fact, she is someone who is known for her mood swings. I'll wager that this charming personality of hers also extends into her personal life and I win. Read on and you'll see what I mean.

Ms. X came in to work one day and was understandably upset about the fact that her home had been burglarised. Many valuable items went missing. Any witnesses? You betcha! Her brother in law, living next door was witness to the entire thing and
here's the kicker - he did not one thing, other than stand and watch the crime in progress and well he did call her to tell her that she'd been robbed after the fact !?!?!

So you have to wonder, how much and what did she do to piss her brother in law off so much, for him not to call the cops or stop the robbery in progress? On a house owned by his own sister in law for Pete's sake. How much hatred was he harbouring that prevented him from picking up that phone and dialing 911? Damn, if family writes you off like this, then what hope is there? Ha! Ms. X did mention that she was furious with her brother in law and with good reason. Seriously? I would not be going around telling everyone that my brother in law was witness to the robbery and did not one thing about it.

I've mentioned before about how Bermudians react better to anyone that being nice, polite and respectful. Be rude or ignorant and they won't hesitate to let you know they don't care for it. Besides doesn't being nice to anyone and everyone go a long way? And it doesn't matter who you're being nice to, right? Well, isn't this story is just proof to show just how far being nice can go, or actually how far not being nice can actually harm you? That and how Karma is a bi*ch!

Care to throw in your two cents?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ch ch ch ch change

My Bermuda folks have already started talking about how cold it is there. They've gone through a major change in temperature in just one week. Although 25 deg Cel is not at all cold, it could seem cooler after a consistently hot summer. It's about to get worse though, or should I say cooler. Pretty soon the seaweed is going to wash up on Bermuda's shores and the water temperature will dip down to levels where most won't even consider going in for a swim. And please, let's not talk about that damp winter weather.

So, what is Cayman going to be like? Well for now I've no idea but I reckon it's going to be pretty much the same, except with lesser showers as we move away from the hurricane season. If February is the coolest month and the average temperature was at 26 deg Cel, I don't think it's going to be any different over the next few months, except perhaps less humid. And while Bermuda's tourism is winding down, Cayman's is just getting into a full swing. And while October is not nearly done, I am looking forward to November, to my first Pirates Week ever. How much are you wishing you could be in Cayman for that?

Thursday, October 09, 2008


It's one of those days where all you're wont to do is curl up with a good book or a movie or just catch up on some much needed beauty sleep. Why? It's all because of a recurring weather pattern, as depicted in this picture here. If you're at work it's even harder to get out of this state of mind and focus. Or maybe not. Sometimes I don't feel so bad knowing that while it's raining out there, I'm at work, working. I'd rather it be sunny on the weekends and when I'm on vacation, thank you very much. Not that I'm complaining. Since it's still hurricane season until the end of November, I'm just glad we don't have any active storms in the area that could develop into a hurricane. Weather like todays however, reminds me so very much of Toronto. Apparently it is possible to experience Fall in Cayman.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pure hogwash

In recent Bermuda news, tourism has fallen to record levels this past summer by 19% which when translated into monetary terms equates to about USD $18.3 million. The last time these figures were so low was in the year 1980.

Well, it's a good thing Bermuda has International Business to fall back on right? If this were not the case, Bermuda's economy would technically be crashing. We all know how the government does not like acknowledging that International Business is the main pillar of the economy, perpetually stating that it is Tourism that drives Bermuda and keeps it running. Well if this current trend of a decline continues, then I'd say Bermuda is in for a lot more trouble than it lets on. What would the government have to say about that? How would it explain what strategies are to be put into place to combat this continuing decline? Since most tourists visiting Bermuda are Americans, laying blame on the American market and current economy will only take them so far. So would the Premier who also happens to be the Tourism Minister, bite the bullet and actually state for once that International Business continues to thrive and Bermuda has not much to worry about, because every winter when tourists are practically non existent, Bermuda still manages to stand. However can that be? I'll tell you how. That 13% payroll tax that the government levies on employers goes a long way, especially when it's remitted on a consistent monthly basis. You've got plenty executives who's salaries are upward of half a million, so you do the math. International Business, my friend. Chug chug chugging along.

So, why not admit that International Business is important and it's presence is year round? That would have to mean acknowledging the importance of guest workers in Bermuda, of expats at large, even though it's only a small make up of the population (8,000 out of 66,000). Someone better start setting the facts straight because Bermuda's treatment of expats is preceding itself at other offshore jurisdictions.

I cannot understand why Bermudians have to be brainwashed as such. In my experience, the smart open minded educated Bermudians know where their bread and butter and mortgage payments via rental income, comes from. They know the importance of International Business and the detrimental effects of Bermuda going independent, should that occur. So, while the Premier, who's popularity vote is rapidly falling, spews hogwash about how Tourism is the one and only pillar, do the educated local lot laugh on the inside listening to this never ending tirade? You bet they do! And I'm laughing right behind them.

And that my folks, is the nitty gritty. It was a long time coming.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hide and seek

Here's one I chased up this coconut tree while at the driving range a couple of weeks ago. It was none too pleased and I could not help it. Trust me, you'd be doing the same thing if you were here. So, were you able to spot it at first glance, before you clicked on the picture? The sucker camouflages itself quite well, eh? If only we humans had this defensive mechanism built into us. Imagine the drama we'd be avoiding on a daily basis, the people and situations we'd be able to bypass at our own whim. On the flip side, can we talk about the coconuts on that tree? Unlike Bermuda, there's coconuts and coconut trees all around here. Thousands of them. Another thing to add on my list of why I love Cayman. It's coconut time, anytime, all the time.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Just Dance

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Cayman Islands National Dance Co. the JUST DANCE show is being held at the Harquail Theatre. Tickets ($20) are available at the door. Future dates and timings are as follows: Oct 5th at 6:00pm, Oct 10th at 7:30pm, Oct 11th at 7:30pm and Oct 12th at 6:00pm if you're a lover of the Performing Arts, this is a must see.
We attended the show held yesterday and were pleasantly surprised with the programme, which had dances old and new, by performers of all ages. And because it was the 20th anniversary they also had a couple of dances by really young kids, one of which was the 'I love my Teddy Bear' dance, performed by 17 little girls, probably of no more than three years of age. Now no photography or videography was allo
wed but I HAD to take a picture of this. Here are the Teddy Bear girls performing on stage in pink little dresses with their teddy bears. Look closer at child #3 from the left. She was so upset that she was onstage, she pretty much stood that way the entire performance. At one point while the rest were dancing in circles, child #2 & 3 look at each other, thoroughly upset, not moving an inch, their expressions conveying their disdain. And while the rest exited the stage at the end of their performance, child #3 just stood there..arms crossed furiously, waiting, watching completely oblivious to the laughs and applause from the audience. She had to be ushered off stage. Priceless! I wish I had taken a video instead because I'd be submitting it to AFV this very instant. This is why I love it when kids perform, you never know what to expect. I can't guarantee she'll do the same at upcoming performances, should you decide to go.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

He ain't heavy, he's my brother

To this day, I have never been able to understand sibling rivalry. I have just one sibling, my younger brother, Newt and there is absolutely no sibling rivalry between us, never has been. As a child he'd always copy me and thankfully he hasn't continued this trend into adulthood because he is way more successful than I. Not only can he solve pretty much any darn computer problem, he's a wiz with math and not to mention his writing style can kick mine out the window anyday. I've mentioned numerous times how he should blog but that's never going to happen.

Although, we'd fight a lot growing up (and sometimes still do), it's all forgotten in the next five minutes. We can never be angry at each other for very long, which is a good thing, because he'd be bored out of his mind. Just a few days ago, I was discussing this post with him, since he rarely reads my blog. And as predicted, he pitched a fit about pasting our online conversation on the blog, but thankfully foll
owed that up with a 'Oh but I liked how you called me a lean mean teasing machine.' (!?!?!)

It's his birthday today and even though we are a year and a half apart, I can't believe how
old he is now. I cannot imagine what it would have been like growing up without him, because all his daring boy antics (stupid at times) and all the ridiculous tricks we played on each other made things so much fun. I post this picture of us (him in his leather jacket and all), taken sometime in the 80's. I love this picture because it always reminds me of how much he looked up to me at that age, not to mention how he'd always come running to me to solve his school bullies of a problem. This was also the age where he'd stick to my side as we traveled unaccompanied between Dubai and Bombay, afraid that I might lose him at any moment at the airport or during the transoceanic flight. Stuck to my side, I tell you. So many memories, so little time. Besides, I'd better stop because he hates it when I get all emotional.

Happy Birthday, Bro! I'm so proud of you!!!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cayman water views

It's been gloomy, rainy and thundery the past few days here in Grand Cayman. Thunder like you would not believe. Thunder strong enough to cause the doors to vibrate in this place. And while the relatively cooler cloudier days have been a welcome reprieve from the hot Cayman summer sun (and believe me it's been hot), I thought I'd share some of these fabulous water views with you. There are only so many days that I can handle the gloominess before I begin to crave the sunshine again (this is why I could never live in England). So, except for the cruise ship shot in this collage, all the other shots were taken while on our drive to East End. Gorgeous, eh?

Thursday, October 02, 2008


As of July 2008, Bermuda has implemented a law that all cars need to be electronic registered with TCD (Transport Control Department). What this does is keeps track of all registered cars on the island, but mainly helps the government hunt down unlicensed cars on the island.

Ironically, what this also does is keeps track of who's going where and when. 'Radars' are positioned at certain stops on the island that will electronically read off the tags of licensed cars as they drive by these stops. An infringement of privacy? You betcha! When this plan first came out, many local and expat alike, complained about privacy issues, many citing that this is the government's way of keep track of everyone's coming and goings.

I say fear not, the government, like any government is too darn lazy to be bothered with everyone's business. Yes, there are only 60,000+ residents in Bermuda and this should not be an arduous task for the government should they decide to track everyone, but really, it's Bermuda. They have enough of a backlog with immigration (just hear that a friend got her renewal work permit approved which only took 15 months!), that you can bet the same will take place with the transportation sector. Although...expats need not worry so much. Your name pops up, it's ok because it's practically meaningless to a local bureaucrat. I guess this is why the locals were upset about the new licensing program. I am sure they don't want their very own knowing what they're upto.

So how'd the government do? Well, they managed to collect close to USD $300,000 in the form of fees and fines on unlicensed vehicles, with the aid of the electronic tagging system.

Which begs the question, now that all cars are technically registered on the island, how will the government really use that tagging system going forward? After all isn't the government made up of people. Nosy people?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ruckus on the island

When you see something going awry right in front of your very eyes, at what point do you get involved? Do you get involved at all? Many time it's that fear of what may happen to the person breaking up the situation, having to deal with the repercussions of just trying to help. It's happened many times before where the good Samaritan is left to deal with the aftermath of a situation that he/she never did intend for nor cause in the first place. What if anything would make you hesitate? A person's race, size or even sex or social standing, perhaps. At what point do you say, hey enough is enough, and for the sake of peace you intervene. You run things through your mind later and wonder, is it done? Is there anything else? But then there's always repercussions, especially when dealing with an immature lot. So then at what point do you decide to fight back and do it in such a way that it leads to no more drama.